Hi, there! Today, I’m going to share with you my simple tutorial to create a firefighter’s helmet cake! I made this cake as the second-tier to top off my firefighter’s hose cake, but you can also make this helmet as a stand-alone layered cake of any size!
I also created some fun cupcakes decorated like fire and water, which you’ll see depicted in some of the photos. This entire set of fun treats was displayed (and devoured!) at a friend’s graduation party a few months ago. He completed his firefighter’s course and exam, thus leading to the happy theme.
Be sure to check out the firefighter’s hose tutorial here, and sign up for my email list to receive access to my complete cupcake course when it releases in a few weeks (spoiler alert – it’s free!) In it, I’ll share everything you need to make cupcakes just like these! For now, let’s create a helmet!
Firefighter’s Helmet Cake Tutorial
So, to begin, peruse the list of decorating materials that you’ll need. Then, follow the steps according to each photo to create your clever cake masterpiece! Near the end, I’ve included some important storage and recipe tips, so be sure to read this post all the way through!
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! Your friends won’t even be able to tell that this helmet is cake… until they bite into it, of course! 🙂
Materials & Ingredients You’ll Need
Peruse the list below to make sure you have the proper tools and components before starting your bake. I’ve included links (some are affiliate) for easy shopping and reference of my favorite products!
- Stacked and layered cake, not yet coated with frosting (for help doing this, check out my video and tutorial here)
- Cake board, two inches larger than your cake pan size
- Sharp, thin kitchen knife
- Offset spatula
- Black fondant, and a small amount of white and yellow fondant (the exact amounts will vary depending on the size cake you decide to make and how thinly you roll the fondant — I used about three 4.4 oz packs of black fondant on my 4″ cake helmet)
- Rolling pin
- Fondant tools (this is the set I have)
- Clear piping gel, optional
- Small letter stamps, optional
- Food-safe paintbrush
- Silver or steel-colored luster dust
How To Create A Firefighter’s Helmet Cake Tutorial
Creating your firefighter’s helmet cake is easy! Check out this chart, then review the written explanations below! Each step number corresponds to a section of this image.
Step One: Carve Your Cake
Using a sharp, but thin kitchen knife, carve your layered cake into a dome shape. I only had two layers on this mini, 4-inch cake, but this tutorial works just the same on a larger cake with multiple layers.
I like to start by removing some of the corner edges around the whole cake, then slowly even and round it out. Always remove less cake than you think — it’s much easier to go back and cut more cake off, but once you’ve removed a section, it’s not so easy to add it back on. (However, if you do slip and cut off a huge chunk, you can try using some buttercream to “glue” it back in place!)
Step Two: Frost Your Cake
With an offset spatula, frost your cake with a generous amount of buttercream. Since no one will see this section, it doesn’t matter what flavor (or color) you use. Try to mimic the dome shape, keeping it as smooth as possible. However, it doesn’t have to be nearly as smooth as a typical cake.
Step Three: Add Fondant Ridges
With some fondant (it can be any color) roll out two long tubes, one slightly thicker than the other. These will create the “ridge” shape of a traditional firefighter’s helmet. Cut each “tube” into two sections.
Next, criss-cross the thinner pieces of fondant over each other — creating a right-angle directly on top of the cake. Then, do the same with your thicker pieces, creating 8 sections of evenly spaced cake. Press the fondant down slightly where it all meets on top of the cake, and rub it gently to form a softer bump.
Step Four: Cover The Cake With Fondant
Use your rolling pin to flatten a large circle of fondant, enough to cover your helmet cake. Try to make your fondant evenly rolled out, and as thin as possible. To transfer it to the cake, simply drape the center of the fondant back over onto the rolling pin, then roll it off, onto and over the cake.
Starting from the top of the cake, smooth the fondant down, paying close attention to the ridges of the helmet. Use your fondant tools to remove any excess fondant, and press into the ridges further.
Step Five: Create The Helmet “Brim”
Roll out another piece of black fondant. This time, however, keep it a little thicker. This will create the brim of your helmet.
Use your fondant cutter or a paring knife to shape the piece into an arch. Be sure that, at the narrowest measurement, your brim is still a few inches larger than the diameter of your cake.
Then, when you’re happy with the shape and size, roll the edges under slightly to create the illusion of a raised brim. You can press down on the fondant from the top to really enhance the “depth” created here.
Finally, cut the edges of your cake board until it is just slightly smaller than your brim, and place it underneath the fondant piece. Alternatively, at this point, you could also just place the brim directly on your cake stand or display board. I chose the former option because this helmet was to be placed as a second-tier on top of another cake.
Step Six: Assemble Helmet & Add Yellow “Reflectors”
Carefully lift your cake up and onto the fondant “brim.” Position it so that one of the thicker ridges faces the front and is aligned with the center of the “brim.” Use your fingers or your fondant tools to smooth the edges of the helmet against the bottom fondant.
Then, cut out eight tall trapezoids of yellow fondant and attach them to your helmet. You can use a tiny bit of piping gel as “glue” if they’re not sticking. Some bakers also use just a dab of water as adhesive, but, beware: too much water can cause your fondant to begin to droop and feel gummy.
Step Seven: Add A Gray “Shield”
Mix some white and black fondant together, roll it thin, and cut out a shield shape. I thought of it sort of like a heart, with an extra “point” in the middle. Again, either use a bit of piping gel or water to attach it to the front of the helmet.
Step Eight: Add “Screws” And A Label
With the same gray fondant, roll out some tiny spheres. Press them with a round ball tool until they stick to the edges of the shield. This will resemble the screws used to attach a real shield. You can even use a sharp, pointed tool to created indentations inside the “screws” to look like the notches fitting for a tool.
At this point, add on your fondant letters or numbers. I hand-sculpted mine since the shield was so tiny. However, if you have the room, feel free to write out a name, or use stamps to create a perfect font.
Step Nine: Finishing Touches & Wear ‘n Tear
To your paintbrush, apply a small amount of silver luster dust. Tap off the excess, then brush the edges of the shield to add a bit of shine. I only used a small amount — that way, the shield would look more realistic, like it had actually been worn in the field! (Though I usually add food-grade clear alcohol to dust when “painting” cakes, I liked the dry-brush effect here. It creates a bit of texture, rather than just a super bright paint dab.)
Optional Step: Stacking Your Cake
If you’re stacking your cake like mine, you can do so now:
- Insert dowels into your bottom tier of cake, cutting them at the exact height of the cake. You can even remove them (from the cake) to measure and cut more accurately. Keep in mind, they need to go all the way to the cake board in order to properly support the weight. I usually use 1 dowel per 2 inches of diameter of cake — so a 10-inch bottom tier would need 5 or 6 dowels, an 8 inch cake only needs 4. Place the dowels in a circle or triangle, ensuring they are evenly spaced out in the area where your next cake will go. If they don’t support the weight evenly, the cake may tip.
- Add some fresh buttercream on top of the dowels to act as a “glue” and then gently place your next tier on top.
- Repeat the process if you have more tiers. For an extra tall cake, place one, long, sharpened wooden dowel in the center of the top tier, and hammer it down through the entire cake. This acts as a reinforcring brace to keep the cake intact.
Since my cake was a small 4-inch-er sitting on top of a 6-inch cake, I just put three dowels where the heaviest part of the “helmet” would go. This cake did not require a center-bracing dowel.
Storage & Recipe Notes
As always, remember that fondant doesn’t hold up well in the refrigerator or very humid areas. For that reason, culinary experts recommend leaving a fondant-covered cake in a cool, dark place (at room temperature) until serving.
Keep in mind, this means your cake should also be shelf-stable. American and Swiss Meringue Buttercreams are fine stored at room temp for up to three days. Cream cheese frosting needs to stay refrigerated at all times, so don’t choose red velvet for this cake design!
Enjoy Your Firefighter’s Helmet Cake!
I hope you enjoyed this fun cake tutorial! I had a blast creating it, so I hope it can bring some joy to you and your loved ones, as well! Be sure to check out the firefighter’s hose cake tutorial here.
Feel free to connect with me on Instagram to keep in touch, or leave a comment on this post to let me know you enjoyed it! I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have.
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